Do You Believe in Revenge, Or In Forgiveness?Bro. David Chancellor
5/23/2004 6:00 PM
Thus saith the Lord God; Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart, to destroy it for the old hatred; Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims and destroy the remnant of the sea coast. And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.
Many people believe in revenge. The mess in the Middle East is due to the peoples belief in revenge. The Palestinians are descended from the Philistines. Both sides believe in revenge. Revenge brings a continual cycle of violence and trouble. It is a continuous cycle of hate. The Middle Eastern people will kill their own children if they dishonor the family name. They believe that something must be done in the name of revenge or vengeance. They think that we Americans are a bunch of wimps because we believe in forgiveness.
Sometimes actions have to be taken in the name of justice. Forgiveness requires us to put the situation in Gods hands and leave it with him. Vengeance requires you to carry the grudge, in some cases, for years. Restitution helps those who have a desire for vengeance against you to let go of the hatred.
Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
If God believed in revenge, who would stand? God is a God of justice, and that wont change. Hes also a God of forgiveness. Because of this, we can approach God. Without Gods forgiveness, there would be no escape from the cycle of sin. If your sins arent removed, justice will require a penalty. God prefers to forgive, but unless you seek him, you wont enjoy his forgiveness.
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
If you endeavor to come to God for forgiveness, dont expect to receive it if youre still holding things against others. Our forgiveness requires us to forgive others also. Grudges get in the way of prayer. Get things forgiven and unloaded before the day is over. Forgive quickly. How long do you want to bear a trouble? Put it behind you. Not forgiving causes a heavy, unnecessary burden. Move the troubles out of the way. If you want your prayers to be effective, move the grudges out of the way. The prayers of those in the Middle East arent effective because theyre bearing a grudge. Their prayers arent helping their souls.
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Forgive them as often as it takes. Peter was looking for a limit on forgiveness. If theres a limit on forgiveness, youll go back to revenge. Do we really want to go there? Forgiveness makes your life so much happier. Those who keep score are carrying around millions of little hurts. Forgiveness helps you unload all this and travel light. How can you hope to live a happy life, believing in revenge? Forgiveness is the best way to go. Some things are accidental, but seem intentional. Forgiveness lets you put it all behind you.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christs sake hath forgiven you.
Someone needs to begin a cycle of kindness. It begins with those who believe in forgiveness. Try a little kindness and see what happens. As Gods church, we should be kind to every person we meet. The cycle of kindness and forgiveness should begin with each of Gods children. Sensitivity is being tenderhearted and being able to understand what others are going through. You can be tough without being hardhearted. You can bear many things and still be compassionate towards others. You can be tenderhearted and not be vengeful. Revenge requires people to harden their hearts. Be forgiving and merciful to others. Practice forgiveness wherever its needed.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
A vengeful attitude is inappropriate for a Christian. A Christian doesnt believe in revenge, but believes in forgiveness. If vengeance is needed, God is able to deliver it. Some things belong to God, not to us, and this is on of those things. We can trust God to take care of the problem. Pray forgiveness on those who do you wrong. Forgive those who hurt you. Start a new cycle. Show kindness to those who mistreat you. Kindness puts a different kind of judgment on people. It shows people something better. If good will triumph, we need to start the cycle of good. Christianity preaches forgiveness. Forgiveness is part of the nature of the Christian. Pray until you forgive and your part of the trouble will be over. The forgiveness of Christ in us is what causes us to forgive others.